Millions of dollars worth of Chinese Christmas bongs seized at LA harbor

"They're very colorful and big. Some of them are like 2 feet tall." A US Customs and Border agent on the shipment of bongs seized at an LA seaport, sneakily labeled as "Christmas Ornaments" by their Chinese shipper, and worth nearly $3 million.


  1. Sad state of affairs… we can’t even make bongs in this country anymore, we had to outsource that. I feel bad for all those poor starving glass blowing hippies that are out of work.

  2. That’s like $8 a bong. I haven’t been in a head shop for a long time, but doesn’t that make the retail price some huge markup?

    1. I could see the retail markup being about 100%-200% of the import cost, making these run about $16~24. That’s from personal experience recently importing bulk electronics parts and tools, not bongs, however. I have no idea what bongs would sell for.

      I’m actually impressed that customs didn’t use some randomly generated ‘street value’ for these. I was kind of expecting to read “These could have been sold for eleventy kerspillion dollars!!!”

    2. Big markup, yes, but a lot of shops work with the constant possibility of law enforcement coming in and seizing the entire inventory on a whim.

  3. Does anyone remember that Facts Of Life “very special episode” when one of the girls found a head shop and brought home bongs for everyone?

    It’s a vague memory for me & I had no idea about weed at the time but I’m sure the episode is still unintentionally hilarious.

  4. Given the way law enforcement press releases are usually written, I expected to see something like: “These bongs could have been used to smoke an estimated $17 trillion in marijuana, or even more if the ‘pot’ was cut with heroin.”

  5. Honestly I wouldn’t want to smoke out of a bong made from Chinese glass. Their manufacturers sometimes put melamine in cat food and lead in baby toys, do you think these are safe? Besides, like anon #3 said, you’d be making hippies sad and poor.

  6. For some reason, this made me think of the documentary on the outsourcing of Mardis Gras, where the 14-year-old Chinese factory girls find out what the beads they make are for and almost die on camera of embarrassment/laughter.

  7. Me thinks some custom agents are going to get some of these that got ‘lost’ from the original shipment and didnt get destroyed… heck, some are going to have a pretty big new collection!

  8. I don’t understand why these tobacco water pipes were seized. I thought they were legal and I know there are many stores that sell them openly, and not as Xmas ornaments. Oh, someone might use some herb that’s illegal w/out a prescription w/ them. You can buy a steak knife or a hammer at many stores and frakking kill someone! You can buy a lighter at the corner store and burn someone’s house down! The only way it makes sense to me is if these were mislabeled on purpose to avoid some kind of tax that might apply to tobacco accessories, but that’s not what they say is the intent of the seizure.

  9. a water pipe is only a bong if you call it a bong, or if you use it to ssmoke something illegal. I could see these being seized for not declaring them as tobacco pipes, pretty sure it’s illegal to declare an import as something that it is not.

  10. How are these mislabeled?? You set them on your mantel and hang your Christmas stockings from them, isn’t that obvious?

  11. It is a sad snowball effect of the war on some drugs that articles of glass, having the right number of holes, are then pronounced to be illegal, especially when you can literally make a bong out of just about anything, including Christmas ornaments. On the year pot is legalized, they will be hanging from my tree.

  12. this is baloney.

    probably the mistake here is that it was 3 million rmb

    chinese money ,, which would be 20,000usd

    which still seems way to high … considering a bong could be made in china for less then 1 usd.

Comments are closed.